Illinois by Marlee John

I was friends with her for a time.
Everyone thought of her as “that girl”
But there was more than that ─
More than what it may have seemed like on the surface.
How could they not see? How could they not?
She was kind; she was poetic; she was lovely.
But she looked loose,
Like there were fine strings holding her together and keeping her sane.
It’s like she didn’t care,
Even though she did. Internally she did.
But she’d given up on herself, so to her,
there was no point in trying for a lost cause.
I felt for her; I still do.
She was desperately looking for love, for someone to love her,
Because that would teach her to love herself.
And she found it in him for a while,
But it made it worse. Because she wondered why he cared.
Insecure about who she was, even to him. So she gave herself to him.
I told her not to. But still, she did ─
Insisting that if she did he wouldn’t leave.
Because even then she was still afraid that she wasn’t enough.
And the fear ate her alive.
But now I see what’s left of her ─
A hollow shell, no love, nothing left.
She fell for the funny water because it would make her forget
Forget who she was, so for a fleeting moment, she could believe to be someone else.
Those fine strings keeping her together.
How could they not see?
How could she not?
She is more than this.
Much more than this.


Marlee John
Marlee John is a senior student from Ontario, Canada. As a night owl, she enjoys writing most of her poetry, songs, and stories while the rest of world is asleep. (Especially when she should be doing her homework). She dreams of one day becoming an author, freelance artist, and musician. She can be found on Instagram @marleejohn_



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